Akan National Park

Brief Overview

Akan National Park covers an area of 904.81km², and established along with Daisetsuzan National park in 1934, make up Hokkaido's oldest national parks. The area features the 3 famous lakes of Akan, Kusharo and Mashu and volcanoes spawned from the lakes, including Meakan-dake, Oakan-dake, Mt. Mokoto and Mashu-dake for an amazing natural scenic landscape weaving together forests, lakes and volcanoes.
The Akan Caldera, the park's highest peak, as well as the active volcano Meakan-dake (1,499m), Oakan-dake (1,371m), Fuppushi-dake, Kikin-dake and other volcanic clusters, along with Lake Akan, the beautiful Panketo, Panketo and Onneto lakes flawlessly harmonize with the wide swaths of Ezo pine and Sakhalin fir virgin forest to present a magnificent primitive spectacle.

Flora & Fauna Ecology

Lake Akan is known for its marimo (a type of floating green algae ball culturally important to the Ainu people and a protected species) and the sockeye salmon that inhabit the lake's waters, said to be most delicious anywhere. Hot springs well up throughout the park, and visitors can observe such unusual phenomena as Bokke (mud domes) along the lake front, and the Mt. Ponpon cave near the Nibushi hot spring. The unique thermal activity of the park also allows for a distinct distribution of organisms and ecology, providing the northern-most limit for Japanese cicadas and an environment where crickets are active even in winter. Plant varieties are also abundant and the park is said to possess nearly 800 types of vascular plants.
The park's vast forests are also the perfect habitat for the wildlife of eastern Hokkaido, with 24 species of mammals such as brown bears, Ezo deer, mice and squirrels inhabiting the area. A number of rare and endangered birds such as the Black Woodpecker, Blakiston's Fish Owl, Steller's Sea Eagle and the White-tailed Eagle can also be found in the confines of the park, which is said to be a paradise for wild fowl.

Climate

Located inland, the area can see large temperature differences, with the mercury climbing above 30℃ on summer days, but dropping to below 10℃ after dark due to radiational cooling. Vast seas of clouds also occasionally form in the calderas. Conversely, temperatures can fall to below -30℃ during the winter, leading to observations of such unique extreme cold phenomena as bulging lake ice, diamond dust, silver frost and ice fog. Additionally, the surface of Lake Akan completely freezes over during the winter, and such winter sports as smelt ice fishing, skating and snowmobiling are enjoyable pursuits.